Published: Friday, 13 August 2021 17:59
The vacation rental market is big enough to accommodate multiple players with digital and operational savvy, including both Vacasa and VTrips. — Sean O'Neill
North America has about 1.5 million vacation homes for rent and about 10,000 property management companies, many of which use outdated technology and work processes. So a gold rush is underway to help professionalize and digitize the sector.
Vacasa, a vacation rental property management company, last month said it planned to go public in a $4.5 billion deal with a blank check company. Then late on Thursday, VTrips, a vacation rental property management company based in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, said private equity firm Hudson Hill Capital had taken a minority stake in it.
“We hope to match with a SPAC next year,” said VTrips founder and CEO Steve Milo — referring to a potential merger with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) similar to Vacasa’s planned one later this year. VTrips will search for a chief financial officer, a chief revenue officer, and a head of business development.
VTrips didn’t disclose the size of Hudson Hill’s capital infusion that gave it a minority stake. Milo had wholly owned the bootstrapped company, and he remained the majority shareholder. Milo would only say that VTrips expected to have about $250 million on hand for acquisitions and operational investment this fall.
Reading between the lines, having Hudson Hill as an investor likely will make it easier for VTrips to get more debt on favorable terms to fuel expansion. The brand has exclusive control of 3,000 properties. Its plans to manage 5,000 by the end of the year.
“We plan to deepen our footprint in the southeastern U.S., which has a high concentration of the country’s vacation rentals, to enhance the efficiency of our operations, which is a big part of the hospitality industry,” Milo said.
The company aims for a series of acquisitions to gain properties. Possible target states include Florida, the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Texas.
VTrips, which truly got going in 2006, chooses to maintain most of the small brands it buys. It targets mid-range properties rather than luxury ones. It doesn’t run properties outside of the southeastern U.S. On all these points, it differs from Vacasa, which has one national brand, tends to covet higher-end properties, and has national coverage with more than 30,000 properties. For more context, read Skift’s VTrips profile from June.
Hudson Hill, based in New York and founded by Eric Rosen, Jason Palmatary, and Alexander Stacy, is a private investment firm that hasn’t recently publicized its total assets under management.
“Steve has built VTrips into the leading independent vacation rental management platform and one of only a select number of operators with a multi-state footprint,” Rosen said. “Perhaps more notable about VTrips is its proven ability to operate effectively and profitably over multiple decades.”
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